First there were the rumours, then the design sketches, but now Bentley is a step closer to replacing its long-dead Azure convertible with an all-new model, having unveiled the striking Grand Convertible at the Los Angeles motor show.
While it has officially been launched as a concept model only, the Grand Convertible hints heavily at the styling of a long-mooted convertible version of Bentley's flagship Mulsanne limousine.
Described by the Crewe-based marque as "the ultimate expression of British automotive luxury," and its "most sophisticated open-top car ever", the Grand Convertible was first previewed in a series of sketches in 2012, when it was shown behind closed doors at the exclusive Pebble Beach concours show. It is now very nearly representative of what a production drop-top would look like.
The model shares its 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine with the Mulsanne limousine, which develops 530bhp and a kidney-crushing 1098Nm of torque. Performance figures haven't been quoted, but expect them to be similar to the tin-top, with a 0-62mph sprint time of around 4.9 seconds.
The car's development has been protracted, as Bentley focuses on bringing its forthcoming SUV model to market. The Grand Convertible is expected to cost around £275,000, though no word has been given on when it might reach showrooms. A two-door fixed-roof coupe model could also follow, though has yet to be given the go-ahead by company bosses.